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Nicholas J. Smeeton, Matyas Varga, Joe Causer and A. Mark Williams

The ability to disguise and deceive action outcomes was examined by manipulating sports garments. In Experiment 1, those with higher and lower skill levels in anticipation predicted the throw direction of an opponent who wore a garment designed to disguise kinetic-chain information. Higher skill anticipators were more adversely affected by the disguise garment than the lower skill anticipators, demonstrating that disguise removed the anticipation advantage. In Experiment 2, using the same occlusion methodology, the effect of deception was examined using 2 garments designed to create visual illusions of motion across the proximal-to-distal sequence of the thrower’s action and compared with a white-garment control. Performances for the deceptive garments were reduced relative to the control garment at the earliest occlusion points for the rightmost targets, but this effect was reversed for the leftmost targets at the earliest occlusion point, suggesting that the visual illusion garments were deceiving participants about motion information from the proximal-to-distal sequence of the action.

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James G. Wrightson, Emma Z. Ross and Nicholas J. Smeeton

In a number of studies in which a dual-task gait paradigm was used, researchers reported a relationship between cognitive function and gait. However, it is not clear to what extent these effects are dependent on the type of cognitive and walking tasks used in the dual-task paradigm. This study examined whether stride-time variability (STV) and trunk range of motion (RoM) are affected by the type of cognitive task and walking speed used during dual-task gait. Participants walked at both their preferred walking speed and at 25% of their preferred walking speed and performed a serial subtraction and a working memory task at both speeds. Although both tasks significantly reduced STV at both walking speeds, there was no difference between the two tasks. Trunk RoM was affected by the walking speed and type of cognitive task used during dual-task gait: Mediolateral trunk RoM was increased at the slow walking speed, and anterior-posterior trunk RoM was higher only when performing the serial subtraction task at the slow walking speed. The reduction of STV, regardless of cognitive-task type, suggests that healthy adults may redirect cognitive processes away from gait toward cognitive-task performance during dual-task gait.

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Stefanie Hüttermann, Paul R. Ford, A. Mark Williams, Matyas Varga and Nicholas J. Smeeton

Over the last decade, research on the visual focus of attention has become increasingly popular in psychological science. The focus of attention has been shown to be important in fast team-sport games. The authors developed a method that measures the extent of the attentional focus and perceptual capabilities during performance of a sport-specific task. The participants were required to judge different player configurations on their left and right sides with varying visual angles between the stimuli. In keeping with the notion that the focus of attention is smaller than the visual field, attentional performance was poorest at the wider viewing angles compared with perceptual performance. Moreover, the team-sport players were better able to enlarge their attentional focus and make correct decisions more frequently than individual athletes, particularly when a motor response was required. The findings provide a new perspective, dissociating the attentional and perceptual processes that affect decision making under various response modes.